Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center began in 2006 with two students and a whole lot of faith.
Bonnie Rachael opened the center in her backyard in Guyton, Georgia, after finding an article about a similar program in a flyer at church.
Knowing this was something God called her to, she began the process of obtaining her certification through PATH International. The center began to slowly transform over time, each year adding riders, volunteers and horses.
In 2014, the property doubled to ten acres. In 2015, the foundation was laid for the Danielle Collins Covered Arena to be built in memory of Bonnie’s first student.
God is on the move and by faith we will continue to see Him at work here in the years to come!
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is therapeutic riding?
Therapeutic riding is an equine-assisted activity for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with special needs. It provides benefits in the areas of health, education, sport and recreation & leisure. See Pathintl.org for more information.
Why the horse?
A horse is the only animal whose walk reflects that of the human and it can be very beneficial for riders who have difficulty and are unable to walk. Riders with sensory disorders also find that it provides input which can provide a calming effect even after the lesson is over. Riders with physical disabilities also find that it offers them an independence and “normalcy” that is difficult for them to achieve anywhere else. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the horse is its ability to see past the rider’s disability and build a bond with that rider.
What is PATH Intl.?
PATH International is the organization that promotes equine-assisted activities. PATH offers certifications for instructors and accredits centers in order to uphold high standards of safety and excellence in the industry. Faith Equestrian is a premier PATH International center and all of our instructors are certified through PATH.
Board of Directors
Volunteer Coordinator & Resource Development
Dana Starr grew up in metropolitan Atlanta and received her BA in Communication from Columbus State University. She has logged numerous hours of volunteer work throughout many states ranging from being a Battalion Family Readiness Group Leader with the U.S. Army to assisting with PTA/PTO programs in schools. Helping those in need, either emotionally or physically, has always been a passion of hers. “Watching someone’s face as they complete a milestone or something they never thought they could accomplish is the most rewarding part of helping others. You smile in return as smiling is contagious and heals the soul!” She moved to Effingham County in 2016 and lives in Guyton with three sons and Edgar, their Staffordshire terrier. Spending time at the beach and boating, whether on a lake or an ocean, is her absolute favorite thing to do. She is also an avid reader.
Erin Sullivan was born and raised in Cincinnati, and like most Ohioans vacationing in the South Carolina Lowcountry, she fell in love with the area and now calls it home. She has been involved in many aspects of the horse industry including showing, teaching, training, breeding farms and equine program management. She has been an assistant-trainer for an all-around Quarter Horse trainer coaching youth and amateur riders. In 1999, Erin became the Equestrian Director for a YMCA Camp. She was the Head Instructor at Wish Upon a Horse Therapeutic Riding Center located in Hilton Head South Carolina. She holds PATH certifications as a Certified Instructor and a Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. The one aspect of the horse industry she had never thought she would be a part of, Therapeutic Riding has become one of the most passionate and rewarding aspects of her life. She also enjoys teaching novice riders, as well as riding reining horses. “There is no way to describe the feeling, when asking this powerful animal to sit down on his hindquarters and slide!” Erin has a son away at college and enjoys traveling, boating, and spending time with her husband and three dogs.
Barbara Thomas graduated from McDaniel College with a BA in German/Education and earned an MBA from Virginia Tech. She has worked in administrative management for a bank, law firm, and publishing company; and in telecommunications management for Transamerica and TRW, before becoming CEO at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, CA. She has been the President and Executive Director of LowCountry Habitat for Humanity, and has served on a number of non-profit boards. Ms. Thomas leads annual Global Village trips for Habitat for Humanity, International. She joined the Board of Trustees of McDaniel College in 2005. In 2011, she served as Project Manager for the first Europe & Central Asia Housing Forum in Budapest – a joint venture of Habitat for Humanity, the United Nations and the Red Cross. This led to other projects with the regional office in Bratislava, Habitat Northern Ireland in Belfast and Habitat Poland in Warsaw. She lives in Beaufort, SC and has two children and three grandchildren all living in Washington, DC.
Barn Manager & Program Development
Elizabeth Todd has been involved with horses since she was eight years old. She now holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching and is certified through PATH International as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. She is also certified through Eagala as an Equine Specialist. Since 2014, Elizabeth has worked in the fields of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Equine Assisted Therapy, and Therapeutic Riding. She joined Faith Equestrian in September 2021 with her Goldendoodle Raphael, and RJ, a registered AQHA working cow horse.